Confession No. 23 — I’d be proud to sport foodie decals on my rear window

Most people who live vicariously through their children do so through Little League, gifted & talented classes and beauty pageants. I tend to do it through forks, skewers and chopsticks.

You probably see your fair share of homemade rear window decals used by cheeky moms and dads to advertise their son’s youth league baseball exploits, or the fact that their daughter is the cheerleader for said team. If the emblems are any indication, we must have at least 20,000 future Derek Jeters in my town of about 80,000 people.

I have yet to see decals advertising little Timmy as the town’s future Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern. Enter my 15-year-old son, who eats many of the same creatures that Billy the Exterminator is hired to eradicate.

Christopher wasn’t always the kid who’d go out on a culinary limb. In fact, he was a vegetarian for about two years after hearing a needless, if not counterfactual rant about the ingredients in a Happy Meal. He was about 3 at the time. His style of eating was cute — at first. Third grade brought back his carnivorous appetite, with the exception of pork. To this day, he’ll turn his nose up at a slow roasted pork loin, opting instead for a frozen pizza or a bowl of cereal.

If Christopher had his choice, he’d dine on a deep-fried Beelzebub bat sandwich with a side of sour cream & onion-flavored crickets. For dessert? Carpenter ants, which are said to taste like lemon drops. (We’ll take his word for it.)  On a recent family cruise, Chris made his way to dinner only on nights that carpaccio and escargot were on the appetizer menu. Just this past week, he slurped down a half-dozen raw oysters on the half shell at an unfamiliar Dallas-area buffet. He’s been eating uncoked mollusks for a few years — about as long as he’s been noshing on slow cooked organs from warm and cold-blooded animals.

Interestingly, he goes about eating these strange foods just as I go about eating a peanut butter & honey sandwich — without any fanfare. And I think that’s cool like the other side of the pillow.

So you know, I’m not one of those ‘my kid can beat up your honor student’ guys. In fact, my children are honor students themselves. All of them have scored at least one winning run or goal at some point. They all read music and have been honored for their acoustic talents. Though these achievements were expected of them, there are no prouder parents. But we never considered canceling the need for a rearview mirror with a two-dimensional shrine … until now.

Does anyone know where I can buy decals that depict eating utensils?

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The winter holidays mean a lot of things to a lot of people. A popular tradition in my neck of the woods is hot tamales. For me, this also means plenty of refried beans, Mexican rice, enchiladas and chips & salsa. I developed the following recipe to mimic the stuff served by some of my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants. In my opinion, a table salsa should start out slightly sweet, bright and refreshing on the tongue, and the heat should sneak up on you. This recipe accomplishes that.

Tex-Mex Table Salsa

Tex-Mex Table Salsa is traditionally served for dipping with warm tortilla chips. It’s also delicious served over just about anything Tex-Mex (except sopapillas or flan). Make a double batch of this, because it goes quickly.

14.5 ounce can — diced tomatoes
28 ounce can — whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup — fresh cilantro leaves**
2 cloves — garlic, minced
½ — yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon — freshly grated sweet orange rind
2 teaspoons — sugar
3 — serrano peppers, sliced***
juice of 1 Key Lime (small lime)

Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Makes about three pints. I usually keep a pint in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks, first allowing a couple of days for the flavors to marry. I process the other two pints for 10 minutes, following manufacturer’s directions for hot water canning.

**I prefer to reserve a small handful of leaves, and place in the food processor toward the end of mixing, for appearance.
***Serrano peppers have heat similar to that of jalapenos. This recipe makes a medium to medium-hot salsa. Adjust peppers to your own taste.


  1. Cool, like the other side of the pillow! hahahahahahaha! Good one! When you order your decals will you get one for me that says, “I follow food trucks” or maybe one like “Born to be a Foodie” “Culinary Creators on Board” ‘Honk if you love Queso!” etc. Hey! You just created a new niche in the decal world! Go for it!

  2. Here’s a bunch of foodie bumper stickers!

  3. Nothing like a home made salsa! I make smaller batches with fresh tomatoes and sometimes put together a black bean salsa or dip. My son, the REAL salsa eater around here, couldn’t stand the taste. He prefers his Pace. I think the cilantro put him off… I’ll make it a point next time to try the orange zest.

  4. Adam, I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! I am having a hard week, and you have made me smile, and even giggle a little. THANK YOU.
    Your “Don’t like my cooking? Call 1-800-Eat-Somewhere Else” bumper sticker would be perfect for me, when you have them printed up, let me know.

  5. I am so glad you “friended” me on FoodBuzz so that I could find your blog. I love it already! If you figure out where to buy utensil decals, do let me know!!

  6. I so need to start a hot tomale Christmas tradition! I love Mexican any time of the year!

  7. New follower. I am loving your blog and your sense of fun. I think you’re on to a million dollar idea with the decals. Jump all over it and if you need an advisor let me know. Lol. Great salsa, my guys love the stuff. My daughter not so much.

    • Thanks for the nice words, Kim. I did not take to salsa until my parents made me order the special at our local Mexican restaurant. I’d been eating the fried chicken prior to that, because I was afraid of the house specialty. The problem, according to my parents, was we were going to this place for the $2.99 Wednesday enchilada dinner, and I was making it an expensive meal by ordering the $4.99 fried chicken. Am I glad they insisted!

  8. Ok… you had me laughing out loud!! I’d love to have the same decals… You will have to spread the word if you find some. Or… perhaps you need to make them and make millions??!!
    Love the salsa recipe.. my husband has been asking for salsa recently but our tomatoes at the market have not been up to par. Never thought of using canned tomatoes. Nicely done!

    • Fresh is almost always a better way to go, but if you go to most Tex-Mex restaurants (in Texas anyway), you’ll get stuff made like this. And that’s basically what I’m presenting here — the restaurant stuff. By the way, Muir Glen brand tomatoes taste far better than any other national brand out there.

  9. 🙂 So glad to find your blog! It’s going to distract me for hours… but I’m still glad! LOL My currently vegetarian son (16 1/2) is being fairly sustained by Muir Glen Salsa, black beans and pizza, (and preferably non-GMO tortilla chips) but he has such an intuitive sense in the kitchen. I keep telling him if the Physics thing doesn’t work out, he’d make a fine chef!

    • Cyndi – Glad you stopped by! Thanks for the nice words. In the meantime, let your son know that just about everything we eat (including corn) is genetically modified. In fact, his corn chips might have originally been swimming up the Snake River. Take care and Happy 2012!

  10. Reblogged this on The Unorthodox Epicure.

  11. Hahaha!!! Well you can get about anything on CafePress: or make your own! Your description of your son’s eating habits is great. Sounds like my husband and sons – they eat just about anything. I’ll TRY just about anything within reason….I’m still not a fan of rodents on the table though. Tonight, my hubby is making southern-style Beans & Cornbread….but throwing in some moose meat instead of bacon or ham hock. Moose is good, Caribou is better, I love Dall Sheep the best! Mmmmmm!

    • Thanks, Conni! And for the mention on Twitter too! I assume that I’m eating nutria (rat) every time I indulge at my favorite local Chinese restaurant, but what am I to do? It’s good, and they at least label it as chicken. (What more can I ask for?)


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